Looking down at the deck of our proposed AIDS Memorial Park, you see 34 million impressions into the continuous pavement, spanning across the entire site. Visitors will recognize each of these tiny impressions as a life – a living person with his or her own story of hope. Our memorial uplifts these 34 million people currently living with AIDS and those who fought and continue to fight against it, while honoring the last three decades of its pervasive pandemic.

A spectacular light shines down onto the memorial’s visitors, filtered through a thin sheet of shimmering water – a necessary, but too often unavailable, resource in the fight against AIDS. As the seasons turn, the color of light passing through the water changes, inspired by the red leaves in autumn, or the icy frost in winter.

Holding up this plane of water is a series of three large, glass tubes, each representing a decade of fighting AIDS. They pay tribute to all who have given their lives in this battle, with or without the disease, from scientists and scholars to activists and friends. Inside the tubes, twisting vines and flowers speak to perseverance, and groves of trees signify the continued strength of the fight. The tubes lead visitors below ground to the new AIDS Awareness Center, where the complete story of the pandemic can be understood and the stories of those affected can be told. The park is ultimately a space for passersby, neighbors, visitors, mourners, patients and survivors alike to gather, to rest, and to find hope.

Client: AIDS Memorial Park Coalition

Program: Cultural, Pavilion, Plaza

Status: Complete

Size: 21,600 SF

Location: New York, NY

Architect: KM,A (Kyle May) and Sean Burkholder

Images: Kyle May, Sean Burkholder